LITH wants say in officer’s pension

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Village officials want a say in how much a former officer should receive for his pension.

The village’s Police Pension Board will hear arguments Tuesday on whether a former police officer should receive a larger pension.

The village is asking to intervene in the pension proceedings of Craig H. James of Lakewood, who was terminated by the Police Commission last year.

James is asking for a “line-of-duty” pension for injuries he suffered while on the job. If his pension request is approved, he would receive 65 percent of his last annual salary, which was $81,675.

In lieu of a line-of-duty pension, James can receive a non-on-duty pension, which would be equal to 50 percent of his salary.

According to village documents, James suffered injuries during a slip-and-fall incident in December 2008 and after his vehicle was rear-ended in December 2009, both while on the job.

The village says that after the accident, James was able to perform his duties without reporting any pain and was able to take on a secondary assignment.

The village says James was working out regularly and not reporting any back issues.

James then left work early Aug. 16, 2010. He had not consulted with a doctor between May and August 2010, according to the village.

“We believe there’s some question whether the injury occurred in the line of duty,” village attorney Carlos Arevalo said.

In the December 2009 accident, James suffered two spinal fractures and required a spinal fusion. He later needed additional surgery to repair the fusion.

James said he always wanted to return to his regular duties and said he was OK because he wanted to be reassigned to special teams, such as the emergency response team, of which he was a member.

He said he wanted to make sure that he had extra duties to have a variety of work, rather than just being on patrol.

“I didn’t want to be known as having back problems,” James said.

He said he was just recently cleared to start going back to the gym, even though he still has some physical restrictions.

James, who is not working, recently started attending McHenry County College for more formal education.

To attend

What: Lake in the Hills Police Pension Fund Public Hearing

When: 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29

Where: Lake in the Hills Police Department, 1115 Crystal Lake Road

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